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Wednesday, 22 May 2013

International and diplomat


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 John Hofmeyr - Anecdotes of a Life of Contrasts
Born in South Africa. 

Anecdotes of a Life of Contrasts describes the unconventional and adventurous route of Dr J A Hofmeyr who had to find work in his home country, South Africa during the Great Depression with no hope of an academic training. Wartime contact with military doctors, who became his role models, fired him with the ambition to qualify as a physician, and overcoming great financial difficulty this was finally realised in London at the age of thirty-six.
In 1945 he began to study medicine at St Mary's in London and in 1952 his first appointments were at the London Hospital at Poplar, and Addenbrooke's, Cambridge. Later after a spell as a ship's doctor he returned to South Africa to an appointment in Durban, in 1957 becoming District Surgeon and mission doctor to the Benedictine Hospital, Nkandhla, Central Zululand.
Eventually, back in England with his wife and son, he served in the NHS from which he has now retired. He continues to attend lectures and functions at the Royal Society of Medicine, the Naval Club, the Royal Academy and some local societies.
The author describes this book as 'a string of life's vignettes, lay and medical'; it is a most unusual work that can be enjoyed by different people in all walks of life.

...something to offer beyond the author’s close circle... amiable string of anecdotes...
Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine
Price £9.95 P&P £2.00 UK £3.50 Europe £5.80 ROW (Hofmeyr)

Tom Russell - I Have The Honour To Be

Tom Russell  worked as a Diplomat in Solomon islands, Cayman Islands and Fiji

Tom Russell has an outstandingly interesting story to tell. From the outset he portrays his life with humour and vigour, from his background and education in Scotland, through to his extensive career in Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service.
His war service, including fifteen months as a prisoner of war, is described in poignant detail, conveying the atmosphere of wartime Germany as well as the many colourful characters he encountered.
Having been appointed to the Colonial Administrative Service, the author describes the post war conditions he found on his first assignment as a District Administrator in the Solomon Islands. Following secondment to the Colonial Office he returned to the Solomons where he undertook various duties in the portfolios of Home Affairs, Personnel Administration and Finance. He was eventually promoted Chief Secretary of the Western Pacific High Commission.
In 1974 he was appointed Governor of the Cayman Islands, a post which he held for seven years. His insight into human nature is put to use as he pays tribute to the high caliber of politicians, civil service and the private sector he encountered during this time, which have led the country to its continuing prosperity. He was to serve a further eighteen years as the Cayman Islands Government Representative in the United Kingdom, completing a career spanning fifty-two years.
Tom Russell has been in the overseas service throughout the whole of the decolonisation process and for the ensuing period when Britain accepted that decolonisation might not be the best solution for the smaller territories for which it remained responsible. He expresses some trenchant views on whether the existing partnership between Britain and the remaining Overseas Territories can last in perpetuity.
Educated at St Andrews and then Cambridge, Tom Russell served in the Second World War between studying at the two universities. Initially serving in the Black Watch, he was then commissioned to the Cameronians and finally transferred to the Parachute Regiment.
He has held a variety of positions in the Colonial Service and Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service and has thirty-four years administrative experience including District Administration and as a Governor in the Caribbean for seven years.
Tom Russell was awarded the OBE in 1963, the CBE in 1970 and the CMG in 1980. He now resides in Melrose, Roxburghshire, enjoys travel and has a holiday home in France.


His understanding of islanders and their ways is manifested time and again throughout the narrative.  Lemuel Hurlston, Former Chief Secretary, Cayman Islands Government

The book had me laughing out actually brought a tear as I read the last page. 
Ned Seago - former assistant manager Old Vic Theatre

‘His memoirs offer a vivid and well informed insight into colonial administration’ 
 John Smith, Former Governor, Gilbert and Ellice Islands

I Have The Honour To Be is now available in eBook format.
I Have The Honour to Be is available on bookbutler:
Price £17.50 P&P £2.25 UK £6.00 Europe £9.50 ROW (Thomas Russell)

Norinka Ford - The Flowing Line
Norinka captures the fascinating story of her family from Hungary. The author now lives in Brazil

Norinka was able to travel extensively as a consequence of her father's diplomatic career and as a result we are given tantalizing glimpses of the various countries that she has lived in, countries as diverse as Iraq, Syria, Chile, Norway, India, and Brazil. 

This book is a unique family history. 


The Flowing Line. Many, many congratulations Norinka. I thought it was absolutely wonderful. I am astounded at the amount of research that you must have done, and indeed at the excellence of the memories of some of the older relatives that you must have interviewed. The book combines very successfully so  many different aspects - family history and events, a near travel book, a political and social commentary on many places, a poetry anthology, and a near global survey of art and architecture, with many shrewd and perceptive comments. I thought we knew you both well and therefore that we knew the main features of your lives, but the book brought out all sorts of things of which I was only partly aware (eg the extent of your Father's diplomatic career) or of which I knew nothing (e.g. the eminence of your family in Hungary). And all so very well written. It is not at all a superficial book: it is a very solid read, and a very rewarding one. I do hope you have sold lots of copies. It is a book that deserves great success.
Sir Peter Heap

The Flowing Line is not only an absorbing family history but an evocative journey through diverse lands and different eras. The place and moment I most identify with is Syria at the start of the 1950s when, though neither of us knew it, Norinka Ford and I were both little girls within the small diplomatic community of Damascus. The magic of that ancient city has remained to this day in both of us.
Josceline Dimbleby, Author

Norinka’s work is unique in two respects. Not only does it straddle two such seismic world events across two different centuries, but it also unites them with real people’s lives. These stories deserve to be told, as they are in this book. If they are not, they will be lost. 
Tom Newton Dunn, Award-Winning Journalist, The Sun

Norinka Ford has written a beautiful and moving account of her family's dramatic history and of her own action-packed life. Weaving together her families' memories with her own, she describes with great narrative skill their stories throughout the tumultuous events of the twentieth century, as well as telling of their new lives in a vividly and lovingly described Brazil. This book will be a precious and inspiring record. 
Liz Calder, Publisher

I have been so much enjoying reading some of your book over the weekend and really enjoying it.  You have done so much research and combined with your own memories and own experiences of fascinating countries and cultures, it is truly a beautiful book.  You have a lovely eye for detail and your chapter about Kilgraston which I have just skimmed through is most perceptive and sympathetic.  I also love your very varied poetry quotations.
 Kilgraston School

Norinka Ford's book launch took place at the English Speaking Union, London on Monday 8th October at 6:30 p.m. 
The launch was a great success and lots of people attended.

Norinka thanked The Memoir Club for the help that we gave her: 

I would like to thank Lynn Davidson of The Memoir Club for helping me make a long-held dream – to write a book – come true.

Writing a book can be a lonely business but I have been fortunate in having an outstanding editor, Dr Jennifer Soutter, to whom I owe a huge debt of gratitude. She has so wisely led a novice like me by the hand and with patience and encouragement guided me through the long journey as this book took shape and developed into something far larger and more ambitious than I had originally envisaged. It has been a great pleasure and a privilege to work with her.

Price: £14.95 P&P £4.00 UK £7.00 Europe £12.00 ROW

The Flowing Line is now available in E-book format:
The Flowing Line is also available on Bookbutler:

Susan Wilkinson - Recollections Of An Irish Born Doctor In Nineteenth-Century Argentina
Susan Wilkinson was born in India, educated in Ireland. and now lives in Canada. 

From a medical family, a maternal great-uncle served in the Royal Army Medical Corps in World War I and was attached to the Serbian Army on the French-controlled Salonika front, for which he was awarded the Serbian Order of St. Sava and the Croix de Guerre. Four of her Irish-born ancestors – Arthur Pageitt Greene and his two brothers and first cousin – were doctors in South America. Her father served in India, Persia and Burma in the Indian Medical Service in World War II, as did her father’s brother who was awarded a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) for his service in Burma. 
She is author of works, both fictional and non-fictional, relating to 19th century Argentina, and lives in Canada.

Arthur Pageitt Greene was born in Ireland in 1848. In 1872, when he was twenty-four, after completing his medical studies at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh, he went to South America where five of his brothers had settled. In his Recollections, which he wrote towards the end of his life, he described his early years in Argentina as the only doctor in a remote area in the pampas, revalidating his medical diplomas in Buenos Aires that was required of all foreign-trained doctors, his medical posts in rural towns and later as a senior physician at the British Hospital in Buenos Aires, his marriage and births of his children, his grief at losing his youngest brother to tuberculosis. He wrote of violent crimes and revolutions prevalent in his day, of epidemics, diseases, suicides, the ravages of cancer and smallpox, and of his final years before retirement from medicine.
The Recollections, with a Foreword by Dr. John D.C. Emery, Head of Institutional Relations at the British Hospital in Buenos Aires, are arranged in chronological parts and edited by Arthur Pageitt Greene’s great-great-niece, Susan Wilkinson, author of Sebastian’s Pride and Mimosa: the Life and Times of the Ship that Sailed to Patagonia. They constitute the only known memoir of a doctor in nineteenth-century Argentina, written in English, in existence.


Susan Wilkinson engagingly gives us a historical background of the development of the practice of medicine in Ireland, the description of the geographical and sociological situation of a newly emerging country in Latin America, its countryside and its towns, woven through and around the story of an Irish doctor who chose to practice his profession in Argentina in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Dr. John D.C. Emery, The British Hospital, Buenos Aires

Price £20.00 P&P £3.00 UK £5.00 Europe £9.00 ROW

To read about the author go to our website:

David Hutchinson - Through a Looking Glass
Lives in Colombia & Barcelona

Through a Looking Glass is the true story of an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances. David Hutchinson, 59 years old and retired from a life spent in international business, was kidnapped by criminals and sold to the FARC, the main Colombian guerrilla.
A nine-month forced march through the fierce terrain of Colombia ensued but the author makes little of this and we can only guess his feelings when he is told ‘You pay, you go free’. But this is not a one sided story. David Hutchinson incorporates his family’s side of the story; their efforts to contact him and the FARC: a whole picture of the kidnap is created.
Because this is the story of David Hutchinson’s long march, there is a pace to the narrative. Interspersed with this are pen-portraits of the various guerrilleros with whom he comes into contact and minibiographies of other captives and the limited occupations of the captives such as chess and wildlife watching.
When he is finally allowed to make a phone call to his home, there is the constant fear that it will be traced. The whole group could then be attacked by the air force, as did happen. This is not just kidnapping; this is war. The air force flies overhead and the army constantly track the guerrilla. They run, they fight and they die, it is a constant battle for survival. Interest is added by giving details of the political and social background and of how the kidnappings first started. Half the kidnaps in the world happen in Colombia. This is an enthralling memoir, which will both fascinate and horrify the reader.
David Hutchinson was born in 1943 in Peshawar, India (now Pakistan) of British parents, John and Antonia. They returned to England in 1947, where David went to school and to Oxford. David married Graciela Busto from Argentina whom he had two children. After her death from cancer he married his second wife Maria Cecilia (Nanette) Muñoz, from the Philippines. He was president of the Colombian-British Chamber of Commerce, Bototà 1993-97 and in 1998 was warded an MBE for services to British-Colombian Trade. He now lives in Barcelona.


Through a Looking Glass - a great title for a great book! Memoir club, did such a good job.

Just to say that I read and much enjoyed David’s book. As I read it I could hear him speaking.
I found the chapters on the members of the FARC that encountered, and his fellow captives (and similarities between some of them), particularly interesting and you have a phenomenal memory to describe your experiences so vividly!

What an excellent book. I wonder if I enjoyed it because it was you, and knowing you made it fun, but I think it was just well written. I liked that it wasn't oppressive, full of violence and gore, nore depressing, as other books on this sort of subject sometimes are. The human elements, not romanticized, and appropriately brief, were appropriate as encounters in the military would be. I also like how you presented all sides without hammering the points. The wildlife made it delightful. I can’t wait for Jeff to come home and read it.
Patricia Harding of The American Orchid Society

Price: £14.95 P&P £2.25 UK £4.50 Europe £7.50 ROW

Through The Looking Glass is now available on e-book:
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Richard G Tallboys - Encounters of a diplomatic kind
Lives in Australia - worked as a British Diplomat in Brasilia, Cambodia, Seoul and Houston
The author followed an unusual career path; from seafarer to accountant, to representing two countries in the world of diplomacy.
Richard Tallboys started his working life at the age of 16 as an apprentice in ships trading between the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. During one of his voyages he met Margaret in Hobart, Tasmania, where he later settled to become a chartered accountant and to study economics and where Richard and Margaret were married. After representing Australia as a Trade Commissioner in Africa and South East Asia the author learned by chance that Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service was interested in recruiting ‘late entrants’ who had a commercial background.
Returning to London Richard began a twenty-year career as a British diplomat, a career that led to him receiving the honours of both CMG and OBE. The final of his 5 very different postings, from Brasilia to Cambodia, from Seoul to Houston, was as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Vietnam.
The interesting, informative, occasionally dramatic and often amusing anecdotes in Encounters of a Diplomatic Kind, derive from the author’s 26 years of diplomatic life. Many of the stories relate to his service in Asian countries.
This book will have great appeal to the general reader who might wonder what makes diplomatic life worthwhile. It should also become an essential read for anyone needing to understand business in Asia

Price £14.50 P&P £1.50 UK £3.00 Europe £5.00 ROW

Encounters of a Diplomatic Kind is available on bookbutler:

Cindy Coster - Where Am I From - Where Are YOU From?

The Author has lived in Malawi, Tanzania, Jamaica, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Sierra Leone
A travelogue to exciting and exotic places this book is packed with information and fun but has never meant to be an authoritative text.
With a passion for birdwatching Cindy and her husband Steve enter diverse eco systems such as the Nepal Himalaya, frozen Antarctica, the never-ending plains of Serengeti – and Ngorongoro Crater a natural wonder - rainforests in South America and a spiny forest in Madagascar.
With many WOW moments fulfilling Cindy’s life ambitions you are transported to the natural habitats of penguins, African Grey Parrots, brilliant Macaws, endangered mountain gorillas, almost-human chimpanzees, and endearing lemurs. Whilst scuba diving, you explore coral reefs off the coasts of Thailand, Tanzania and Jamaica. You stop off in left-behind Cuba and the contrasting fantasy worlds of Walt Disney World and glitzy Las Vegas.
There’s a biographical thread too telling of life on sugar estates in Africa and colourful Jamaica, hazards moving country and Cindy being at home by virtue of her husband’s work, plans fun dinner parties and events. Normally mundane tasks like haircuts and grocery shopping, and tropical diseases like malaria are a major challenge. The world shrinks when they learn that people they meet know their relatives, and meet many folk always asking (whilst trying to establish common ground) “Where are you from?”

This book is a delightful and intimate account of a very unusual life's journey through many exotic places. With her keen eye for observation, a great sense of fun and her passion for birding and scuba-diving, Cindy Coster shares with the reader many breathtaking and poignant moments such as coming face to face with  mountain gorillas in Rwanda, or following in the footsteps of Shackleton in South Georgia.
Customer Review on Waterstones website

Price £12.95 P&P £2.50 UK £4.60 Europe £8.20 ROW

Where Am I From- Where Are You From is available on bookbutler:

Carole Bell - Baltics To Beirut
The author has worked in Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Croatia, Turkey and Lebanon
A travelogue and professional memoir, this book will appeal to anyone who has an interest in travel to the less well-known corners of Europe, learning about their history and customs, consumer rights and the role of the European Union. It is written not from the usual visitor's perspective but by someone who has worked and lived among people whose country has undergone seismic change. Carole Bell explores the contrasting nature of beautiful cities in Eastern Europe that have been wounded by war, whose citizens have suffered severe hardship yet remain optimistic.
The story begins in 1970 with a unique glimpse of life behind the Iron Curtain when Romania was in the grip of a harsh communist regime. The break-up of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War two decades later paved the way for the restoration of democracy in Eastern Europe. Carole was employed in Trading Standards when she was unexpectedly offered the chance to work in this "New Europe". An assignment in Malta in 2003 led to projects in Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Croatia, Turkey and Lebanon - and a return to Romania. It was an amazing journey and makes a fascinating story. The towns and cities she has visited are described in poetic detail, along with a cast of interesting people she has met.


The book will appeal to anyone who has an interest in travel to the less well-known corners of Europe, learning about their history and customs, consumer rights and the role of the European Union.
Croatian Times

Price £12.95  P & P £2.00 UK £3.00 Europe £4.50 ROW

Baltics To Beirut Is available on bookbutler:

Professor Walker-Smith - Enduring Memories
Born in Australia. 

Professor Walker-Smith has become well known on the internet and in the press because of his involvement in a GMC Hearing (2007-2010), where he and his colleagues, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, and Professor Simon Murch faced charges concerning a paper in the Lancet published in 1998. This article described the clinico-pathological features of a group of 12 children with features suggesting autism who also had bowel problems, significant enough to be investigated by means of colonoscopy for possible bowel inflammation. The paper also speculated that there was an environmental trigger to this syndrome, which could have been measles mumps rubella immunization, MMR. He was accused of performing research on these children rather than clinical care in a tertiary referral unit. The GMC Panel in May 2010 determined that he was performing research on the 12 children and recommended he be struck off. However in February 2012 Mr. Justice Mitting in the High Court quashed the GMC findings. This was a triumphant vindication for Professor Walker-Smith. This has proved to have been an historic judgement as Mr. Justice Mitting stated “it would be most unfortunate if this were to happen again”. Subsequently the GMC has proposed a new tribunal conducted by a judge, some have seen this as the biggest change in 150 years.
Professor Walker-Smith describes his personal experience over an eight year period after the allegations were made against him, by a journalist, and the GMC Hearing itself as well as his successful appeal, in a Chapter entitled the Trial. He draws attention to a number of parallels with Franz Kafka’s The Trial.
However this book is much more than this. It gives a detailed account of academic and hospital specialist medical practice (paediatric gastroenterology) from the inside, for a period over 40 years. Professor Walker-Smith was both an academic and a consultant working in the NHS from 1973-2000.

It also gives an account of his earlier personal and professional life growing up in Sydney, Australia. This covers the period from 1936-1972 when he transferred to St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London.


Price £9.95 P&P £2.50 UK £3.75 Europe £9.50 ROW

Enduring Memories is available from bookbutler:

Victor Dubowitz - Ramblings of a Peripatetic Paediatrician 

Born in South Africa. 
Victor Dubowitz enjoyed a globe-trotting medical career spanning half a century and is internationally known and regarded within the medical fraternity.
Throughout his academic and research career in the muscle field and the neurology of the newborn infant he has retained a passionate love for clinical medicine.
He has written five books on muscle disorders. He has also collaborated with his wife, Lilly in developing a scoring system for assessment of the gestational age in the newborn infant. This became an international standard known as the Dubowitz score. They have also co-authored three books on the newborn.
Victor Dubowitz takes the reader on a thought provoking journey, often tangentially. He tells of a career which moves off in diverse directions, determined as much by chance as a driving spirit to pursue any channel of special interest.
It represents one man's story of his environment and his encounters as he moves from a small country town in the Karroo region of South Africa to the professorship of paediatrics at the prestigious Royal Postgraduate Medical School at the Hammersmith Hospital in London.

Victor Dubowitz’s book is fully deserving of a wider distribution, not only to all physicians, but also to the general public.
John H.Menkes

To read more about Victor Dubowitz visit his Wikipedia page:

Price £20.00 P&P £4.50 UK £6.25 Europe £11.75 ROW

Ettienne De Beer - Through Blisters and Saddle Sores

Born in South Africa
We were typical young lovers with many dreams and fantasies which clouded reality for some time. But no more than a year and a half into our marriage Trish was diagnosed with Grade 3 invasive Breast Cancer.
We had never had a shock like this in our lives before. We couldn’t believe it. More so, we didn’t want to.  We considered ourselves to be generally young and active, growing our own fruit and vegetables, doing physical labour on our allotment. Never take your health for granted.
Dean Karnazes’s book, Ultramarathon Man. This book changed my life . I couldn’t put it down, more honestly, I didn’t want to put it down. 

It sounds so strong and rewarding. I don’t know if it’s just me but when I hear those lines, I just want to get out there and do something great.

My manager at the time, Dan Lauder, also a very well-travelled adventurer, had just completed an almost solo cycle from his door in England to the Coliseum in Rome. The distance of about 1,000 miles travelled in the space of ten days.

 It is funny how life works sometimes. He had just finished a book that inspired him to take on an ultra-marathon and asked me if I was up for the challenge. I found myself saying yes even before I had a chance to think about what it meant.

 IN MY PREPARATION I STUMBLED ON A WEBSITE CALLED THE GREAT TOUR, which was the circumnavigation of Britain’s coast line by bike. It looked like a worthy challenge and covered a distance of about 6,600 kilometres. I thought yes, that’s something I’d like to do

To read more about Ettienne De Beer go to his website at:
Or to read more about his expedition go to his blog at:
For his twitter page:

ETTIENNE IS TRYING TO RAISE £100,000 for The Haven following his wife’s fight with BREAST CANCER.

HELP RAISE MONEY FOR THE HAVEN@BreastCancerH Support, information and complementary therapies to help anyone affected by breast cancer.

Email us if you want to make a donation

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10% of all profits go to THE HAVEN

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